When the pandemic hit, Max Cucchiella and his wife Sarah Veinot, along with their family, gathered around the kitchen table in their Port Credit home to help their community.
They started making non-medical masks with a clear vinyl insert in the centre, so that those who are deaf or hard of hearing and rely on lip-reading could rejoin the conversation during COVID-19.
“As the mother of a child with special needs, I understand the benefit of these masks, and I’m truly delighted that they also allow us to give back to THP, where I have received life-saving care,” said Sarah Veinot.
The lip-reading lens mask, called My Access Mask, is continually evolving with a commitment to quality, innovation and design. Demand took off and the family launched the Como Foundation, which has announced a $5 million gift to Trillium Health Partners Foundation with proceeds from mask sales. The generous donation will be used to support the redevelopment and expansion of Mississauga Hospital.
The gift is the result of local innovation, benefitting not just those who are deaf or hard of hearing and Trillium Health Partners (THP), but also McRae Imaging, a local medium-sized business hurt by lost revenue as a result of COVID-19. McRae is now producing these novel masks at a commercial volume in Ontario and is listed on the province’s Workplace PPE Supplier Directory.
“I want to thank Max, Sarah, and the Como Foundation for their incredible generosity and leadership,” Premier Doug Ford said. “It’s selfless actions like today’s donation that show the true Ontario spirit and help bring people together in support of the community and our frontline heroes at Trillium Health Partners.”
THP is the largest community academic hospital in Canada, with over 1.75 million patient visits last year, including some of the highest numbers for births, emergency visits and surgeries. Over the next 20 years, THP will experience more demand for care than any other hospital in the province, as the area population rises and the number of seniors triples in the next 10 years.
“Hospitals play a key role in keeping our community healthy in ordinary times, but during a pandemic it takes a whole community. Gifts like this one help us fight COVID-19, while also building for our future,” said Michelle DiEmanuele, President and CEO of THP. “Our deepest thanks to Max and Sarah, as well as their family and the Como Foundation for their generous gift.”
While THP cared for one of the highest volumes of COVID-19 patients in the province, staff had to work harder because of the age of Mississauga Hospital, which opened in 1958. A new kind of health care requires new infrastructure and state-of-the-art technology within a more complete, efficient and inclusive system. To help achieve that vision, the larger, modern Mississauga Hospital will boast significantly more capacity to care for patients while reflecting the best of today’s standards. The hospital’s expanded emergency, surgical and ICU capacity will ensure THP can continue to provide high quality, accessible and sustainable care in the face of rising demand.
To order masks, visit: www.thecomofoundation.ca/
Main photo: Max Cucchiella and his wife Sarah Veinot started the Como Foundation which has announced a $5 million gift to Trillium Health Partners Foundation.